Dimon Puts Odds Of US-China Trade Deal At 80%

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Since volatility no longer bolsters trading revenue (as we learned back in Q4), perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to hear JPM CEO Jamie Dimon telling Bloomberg TV during a Wednesday interview in Beijing that the market’s frenzied reaction to trade-related developments over the weekend was probably overblown.

Despite everything that has happened over the past few days, Dimon insisted that the odds of the US and China reaching a trade deal are 80%, though the possibility that “something bad might happen” remains a tail risk worth hedging against.


Nevermind that investment-banking rival Goldman Sachs capitulated on Wednesday after the most bruising stretch for markets this year and admitted that a ‘no deal’ scenario is now the base case (putting the odds of a tariff hike on Friday at 60%). Will we see Dimon and JPM commit to a similar about-face in the coming days?

Because from what Dimon has been hearing from his friends inside the administration, Trump remains committed to reaching a deal, regardless of his twitter threats – though he added that he didn’t expect a deal to be finished by Friday, as the White House had once warned.

Although the stakes are extremely high – Dimon said the failure to reach a trade deal could be a “fly in the ointment” for the global economy…

“I think there’s an 80% chance they’ll get it done…but the odds of something bad happening are now doubled.”

“If it reverses global trade – it could slow down global growth and hurt a lot of economies around the world. The world economy is actually doing okay, China is growing at 6.5%…America is growing at 3%…but the fly in the ointment could be this. If this goes really south, that could change global growth.”

…he insisted that he’d rather see the US accept no deal than a bad deal.

“I think both sides should do what’s in their own best interest…I think there are serious issues that need to be resolved…and both sides have made a lot of progress toward doing that. I’d rather not do a deal, than do a bad deal. But Japan and Europe have a vast interest in this, we’re not coordinating with them, but they’d like to see a deal happen.”

Dimon said China has already been opening up its market (it just allowed JPM to take what we imagine will pan out to be a very lucrative stake in a domestic securities venture)

“You have very smart people on both sides trying to work this out.”

During the balance of the interview, Dimon covered a range of other topics, including his outlook for the Fed. The JPM CEO reiterated his view that Treasury yields will eventually rise, adding – ironically – that it might be better for the Fed to abandon its interest-rate projections.

Sound almost like he was pushing back against  Trump’s insistence on a rate cut, Dimon said the Fed needs to reflect on the efficacy of its QE program, and later added that “4% [on the 10-year Treasury] when you’re having fairly good growth is not a bad place to be”

Here’s a rundown of some of the other notable quotes from the 15-minute-plus interview (courtesy of BBG):

The U.S. Federal Reserve

“There’s nothing wrong with wait-and-see.”

“I think they should just stop forecasting. They don’t really know the future.”

“They have a huge amount of firing power, they are very smart people.”


“It’ll be a huge mistake for American policy to be set based on the stock market.”

“The market will fluctuate, economy will fluctuate, people always get scared and overreact to certain events.”

“That’s not how we run a company, I don’t really spend that much time worrying about that.”

Current yields are “extraordinarily low.”


On payments competition from Ant Financial’s Alipay, and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat Pay: “We got to be prepared for that, so we’ve got to move quicker.”

“China can do something that the rest of us can’t do: They can manage industrial policy, fiscal policy, monetary policy in a coordinated way. Which is why we think they can accomplish 6.5 percent growth.”

“They probably have some significant non-performing loan problems at banks but they can handle that.”


“We don’t think a hard Brexit is going to happen. JPMorgan is prepared for hard, because we have to be, not because we’re predicting it.”

“A hard Brexit will be really tough on Britain, and their GDP, employment, real estate values – but a soft Brexit will be hard, too.”

“They will not be the same center of financial services they are today 10 years from now even under a soft Brexit.”

Watch the full interview below:

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